‘Cherish these days,’ says Premier on Docklands Primary’s first day

To say five-year-old Ishan Naik was ready for his first day at school is an understatement.

His father, Rajesh, said Ishan declared a year ago: “I want to go to school and not childcare any more.”

Happy day: Prep student Ishan Naik, 5, with parents Rajesh and Gauri on opening day of Docklands Primary School. Credit:Penny Stephens

As one of 110 preps at the brand new Docklands Primary School on Thursday, Ishan had “a lot of energy and was excited”, Mr Naik said. But by home time, 2.15pm, he was exhausted.

Dad was proud to hear from a teacher that Ishan had shouted “that’s Dan Andrews” when the Victorian Premier walked past him at the school.

“Ishan has got a lot of curiosity,” Mr Naik said.

“He’s already learned the name of the premiers and the prime ministers of various countries.”

Morning meeting: Premier Daniel Andrews with Docklands Primary School students.Credit:Penny Stephens

Ishan has mild cerebral palsy and crutches help him get around, but from the moment he reached school – from the family’s apartment across the road – he was off exploring.

Mr Andrews, who welcomed the school’s first 203 students, including just one grade sixer, summed up the mood by saying: “It’s a very emotional day for many families, but I say cherish these days because they pass all too fast.”

About one million Victorian children returned to school on Thursday, including 84,000 in prep.

Docklands Primary, whose capacity is 535, is one of 14 new schools – 10 primary and four secondary – welcoming students across the state

First day: Zoe, Amaira, Elliot and Gideon at Docklands Primary School. Credit:Penny Stephens

Mr Andrews said Victorian students, parents and school staff had done a “mighty job” during the pandemic, “and it’s great to be able to celebrate the beginning of school for 2021 with that relative normality, in person, safe and, of course, in fantastic facilities just like this one”.

Docklands Primary resemble a boat with its red bricks and timber cladding, a nod to its harbourside location. The school has 18 classroom spread over three floors, a multi-purpose centre for sports classes and performances, a kitchen for cooking lessons and a library and music space.

Principal Adam Bright said he’d been nervous, after spending six months preparing.

“To finally be able to welcome some students and families into the school, it was exciting and nerve-wracking all at once.”

Proud Dad Ankush Dev with his daughter Anvika at Docklands Primary School.Credit:Penny Stephens

Ankush Dev said his daughter Anvika, 5, had been up before 7am and dressed in her uniform by 7.40am.

It takes just five minutes to walk 300 metres from the family’s Docklands apartment to the school and they arrived 40 minutes early at 8.05am.

“I could not say no to my daughter and she was saying, ‘let’s go to school’,” Mr Dev said.

Anvika had long been chatting to her parents about having a teacher, bigger playgrounds and making friends, although she already knew quite a few kids from daycare.

As for mum (Stuti) and dad, “we are very excited and proud of her,” Mr Dev said.

“It’s emotional, her going to school for the first time, spending all her time in school and all that. It was a big moment for us as well.”

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